KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 23, 2016: Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action against Burnley during the Lancashire Senior Cup 2nd Round match at the Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp rules out sending Joe Gomez on loan in January

Jurgen Klopp is not planning to send Joe Gomez out on loan in January, but the centre-back may spend the rest of the season with the Liverpool U23s.

Gomez returned from a year on the sidelines with an ACL injury in November, and has since established himself as a key player for the U23s.

The 19-year-old, who was a first-team regular before his setback in 2015, has also been training under Klopp at Melwood.

His next step could have been to join a club on loan on the turn of the year, with Huddersfield Town previously reported to be interested in taking the former Charlton Athletic youngster in.

However, speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with West Ham United, Klopp ruled out a winter loan for Gomez, instead looking to manage his fitness in-house.

“We have had a very good talk. What I think about Joe Gomez is he is an unbelievable talent,” he said.

“It’s a long injury and if we send him on loan, with his quality, a team will play him every game. That is not what he needs in the moment.

“Because he was long injured, he needs us to judge now to play, now to stop, rest, work on this, do this, do a little bit on this.”

DERBY, ENGLAND - Monday, November 28, 2016: Liverpool's Joe Gomez in action against Derby County during the FA Premier League 2 Under-23 match at Pride Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has utilised Lucas Leiva as his third-choice centre-back of late, with the Brazilian operating away from his natural position in midfield.

This has presented a bemusing scenario, with Klopp having signed Ragnar Klavan from Augsburg in the summer, but routinely overlooking the Estonian in favour of his longest-serving player.

Gomez could serve as a centre-back under Klopp this season, providing backup for first-choice duo Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren.

However, Klopp continued to explain that, while he considers Gomez a huge prospect for the future, he may spend the rest of the campaign away from the first team.

“He’s a boy for the future, 100 percent,” he added.

“Maybe he is an option for the first team, but maybe not for this season.”

Gomez has joined Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori in the U23s’ back line in recent weeks, and with the former set to leave the club in January, his opportunities could increase.

Ilori may also depart, with the Portuguese having failed to agree a move away from Merseyside in the summer despite Klopp’s willingness to seal a deal.

This would see Gomez promoted to a key role under the Reds’ incoming U23 manager, and give the ex-Addick an ideal chance to regain his fitness and form ahead of 2017/18.

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